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An ocean (from Ancient Greek Ὠκεανός, transc. Okeanós, the sea of classical antiquity) is a body of saline water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean, which covers almost 71% of its surface. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word sea is often used interchangeably with ,,ocean" in American English but, strictly speaking, a sea is a body of saline water (generally a division of the world ocean) partly or fully enclosed by land.
Saline water covers approximately 72% of the planet's surface (~3.6×108 km2) and is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas, with the ocean covering approximately 71% of Earth's surface and 90% of the Earth's biosphere. The ocean contains 97% of Earth's water, and oceanographers have stated that less than 5% of the World Ocean has been explored. The total volume is approximately 1.35 billion cubic kilometers (320 million cu mi) with an average depth of nearly 3,700 meters (12,100 ft).
As it is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, the world ocean is integral to all known life, forms part of the carbon cycle, and influences climate and weather patterns. It is the habitat of 230,000 known species, although much of the oceans depths remain unexplored, and over two million marine species are estimated to exist. The origin of Earth's oceans remains unknown; oceans are thought to have formed in the Hadean period and may have been the impetus for the emergence of life.
Extraterrestrial oceans may be composed of water or other elements and compounds. The only confirmed large stable bodies of extraterrestrial surface liquids are the lakes of Titan, although there is evidence for the existence of oceans elsewhere in the Solar System. Early in their geologic histories, Mars and Venus are theorized to have had large water oceans. The Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, and a runaway greenhouse effect may have boiled away the global ocean of Venus. Compounds such as salts and ammonia dissolved in water lower its freezing point, so that water might exist in large quantities in extraterrestrial environments as brine or convecting ice. Unconfirmed oceans are speculated beneath the surface of many dwarf planets and natural satellites; notably, the ocean of Europa is estimated to have over twice the water volume of Earth. The Solar System's giant planets are also thought to have liquid atmospheric layers of yet to be confirmed compositions. Oceans may also exist on exoplanets and exomoons, including surface oceans of liquid water within a circumstellar habitable zone. Ocean planets are a hypothetical type of planet with a surface completely covered with liquid.
The word « ocean » comes from the figure in classical antiquity, Oceanus (/oʊˈsiːənəs/; Greek: Ὠκεανός Ōkeanós, pronounced [ɔːkeanós]), the elder of the Titans in classical Greek mythology, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world.
Though generally described as several separate oceans, these waters comprise one global, interconnected body of salt water sometimes referred to as the World Ocean or global ocean. This concept of a continuous body of water with relatively free interchange among its parts is of fundamental importance to oceanography.
The major oceanic divisions - listed below in descending order of area and volume - are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria.
A lake is an area of variable size filled with water, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land, apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are also larger and deeper than ponds, though there are no official or scientific definitions. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which are usually flowing. Most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.
Natural lakes are generally found in mountainous areas, rift zones, and areas with ongoing glaciation. Other lakes are found in endorheic basins or along the courses of mature rivers. In some parts of the world there are many lakes because of chaotic drainage patterns left over from the last Ice Age. All lakes are temporary over geologic time scales, as they will slowly fill in with sediments or spill out of the basin containing them.
Many lakes are artificial and are constructed for industrial or agricultural use, for hydro-electric power generation or domestic water supply, or for aesthetic or recreational purposes.
The word lake comes from Middle English lake (,,lake, pond, waterway"), from Old English lacu (,,pond, pool, stream"), from Proto-Germanic *lakō ("pond, ditch, slow moving stream"), from the Proto-Indo-European root *leǵ- (,,to leak, drain"). Cognates include Dutch laak (,,lake, pond, ditch"), Middle Low German lāke (,,water pooled in a riverbed, puddle"), German Lache (,,pool, puddle"), and Icelandic lækur (,,slow flowing stream"). Also related are the English words leak and leach.
There is considerable uncertainty about defining the difference between lakes and ponds, and no current internationally accepted definition of either term across scientific disciplines or political boundaries exists. For example, limnologists have defined lakes as water bodies which are simply a larger version of a pond, which can have wave action on the shoreline or where wind-induced turbulence plays a major role in mixing the water column. None of these definitions completely excludes ponds and all are difficult to measure. For this reason, simple size-based definitions are increasingly used to separate ponds and lakes. One definition of lake is a body of water of 2 hectares (5 acres) or more in area;:331 however, others[who?] have defined lakes as waterbodies of 5 hectares (12 acres) and above,[citation needed] or 8 hectares (20 acres) and above (see also the definition of ,,pond"). Charles Elton, one of the founders of ecology, regarded lakes as waterbodies of 40 hectares (99 acres) or more. The term lake is also used to describe a feature such as Lake Eyre, which is a dry basin most of the time but may become filled under seasonal conditions of heavy rainfall. In common usage, many lakes bear names ending with the word pond, and a lesser number of names ending with lake are in quasi-technical fact, ponds. One textbook illustrates this point with the following: ,,In Newfoundland, for example, almost every lake is called a pond, whereas in Wisconsin, almost every pond is called a lake."
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